The Ogún Meji Duo
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This is a jazz record sans the platter, a digital manifestation of the revolutionary and seemingly prophetic tradition led by artists such as Max Roach (“We Insist! Freedom Now Suite”), Charles Mingus (“Fables of Faubus”) and Billie Holiday (“Strange Fruit”). As such it bears pointing out that #BlackLivesMatter is not a collection of songs as much as an assemblage of meditations, opportunities provided by two masterful musicians attempting to bridge the distance between knowing and being to step into the heat of a moment, to investigate what lies beyond the headlines and the political talking heads. It is a space that jazz has proven time and time again is best filled with its sophic and sagacious methods. The relationship between the artist and the story the music seeks to convey are inseparable. In short, if it is rote, it is not jazz. Jazz gets a not-wholly invalid bad rap for being beholden to its traditions, when in fact its tradition is change, to always be refracting what is there with what might be. Jazz is an art form ideally realized by passionate and furious people. And when you apply an engine that artistically powerful to the times that we live in - with the right intelligence, heart and skill…well, there can be no lyrics for a session like this, save side hollers and the guttural moans of recognizable fury.